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Bangladesh Moves To Ban Religion-Based Parties

The Election Commission of Bangladesh has begun the process to ban religion-based political parties in that South Asian country by issuing a directive to three Islamic parties to amend their charters found to be in conflict with the country's Constitution.

It wrote to the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Khelataf Andolan and Tarikat Federation to amend their respective constitutions as these were not adhering to the provisions of the Representation of People Order (RPO).

Election commissioner M Shakhawat Hossain said as long as these party constitutions were inconsistent with the constitution and the RPO registration clauses, it would not accept them.

The review committee felt seven such provisions in the Jamaat's constitution contradicted the RPO.

Among them, sub-clause 5 of the clause 2 stated that it did not acknowledge any entity other than Allah as the sovereign and the supreme being. The Election Commission said tht this essentially undermined the authority of parliament and the elected legislature.

And, sub-clause 3 of the same clause mentioned that the party was striving to establish Islamic law. The Election Commisssion observed that the Constitution of the land made no such provision, and, thus, it ran contrary to it (the Constitution).

The Election Commission's move came after Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said earlier this month that the government would ban all religion-based political parties after the Supreme Court upheld a 2005 High Court ruling, throwing out the fifth amendment to the country's Constitution facilitating religion-based politics to flourish in the country.

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